Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Vickie Gendeau’s Testament (2012; 2016)

Originally written after the author had been diagnosed with a brain tumour, Testament is a response to the news that Vickie Gendreau would have little time left to live: about a year.

2012; Book Thug, 2016

The novel’s translator, Aimee Wall, writes about the work, a few months after its author died, in Lemon […]

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestRedditEmailShare

The Inseparables, Tobacco Wars, I’m Still Here

Having stories narrated by – or assembled via – a number of voices is a popular way of  world-building. Each of the following books plays with this technique, allowing different perspectives to combine and create a more credible space for readers to inhabit.

Just as in Meg Wolitzer’s The Position, the matriarch in Stuart Nadler’s The Inseparables […]

“Face” Alice Munro

“You think that would have changed things?” “The answer is of course, and for a while, and never.”

In interview with Eleanor Wachtel, Nick Hornby discusses the “problem of being divided being two worlds” saying that many of us have a version of this in our own lives.

This is true for the narrator of this […]

Megan Abbott’s The Fever (2014)

Paradoxically, the phenomenon in The Fever has a chilling effect on characters and readers alike.

The girls fall to the ground, one after the next; they writhe and tensions rise but blood is chilled.

Little Brown & Company, 2014

“As Deenie walked out, a coolness began to sink into her. The feeling that something […]

“Floating Bridge” Alice Munro

Jinny has been standing on shifting ground.

Expectations are thwarted: these are times of transformation.

This was true, too, in “Gravel” and in “Oh What Avails”.

But there she is: the space in which she is standing shifts both literally and metaphorically.

Things have been all-a-shift for some time now.

Readers have the detailed […]

Jonas T. Bengtsson’s A Fairy Tale (2014)

Fairy tales began as stories for adults. “They were the television and pornography of their day, the life-lightening trash of preliterate peoples,” says John Updike.

Translated (Danish) Charlotte BarslundOther Press, 2014

Distraction and entertainment, but years later edification and morality: the words ‘fairy tale’ mean different things in different times, to different listeners and […]